Diego Cruz, 15
The driver of a passing car heard shots, saw him collapse, and called 911. Passersby said they heard four or five shots.
Cruz was on the sidewalk, not breathing, when police arrived, and he was taken to Cedars-Sinai. Cruz was a student at Hollywood High. His family are Oaxaquenos from the Mexican state of Oaxaca and speak a mix of Spanish and Zapoteco.
Martimiano Cruz Lopez, Diego's father, is a cook at Swingers restaurant on Beverly Boulevard. He was at the East Hollywood apartment he shared with his son Wednesday trying to make arrangements to have his son's body sent from the morgue at the hospital back to Mexico, with the help of the Mexican Consulate. Looking exhausted and tense, he seemed reluctant to sit, and when he did, perched rigidly at the edge of his chair, eyes wide, hands folded. He said he came to Los Angeles from the town of San Diorisio Ocotepec, Oaxaca about three years ago to work, then brought Diego, the second of five children, up here to join him last year. "I wanted him to improve himself and learn English," said Cruz Lopez. "We never intended to stay."
Diego, his father said, loved Los Angeles, and especially loved attending school at Hollywood High. He was outgoing, clownish at times, and liked to draw. Relatives were preparing for Christmas, cooking, and dropping off gifts with friends on Christmas Eve. Diego asked his father for permission to make a quick trip to Sears on Santa Monica Boulevard to buy a present for a girl he liked. He never made it into the store. Cruz Lopez was home when he got the call his son had been shot. At the scene, police told him the news as he stood on the street. He went to the hospital to view his son's body, and called home to tell Diego's mother the news. She had been crying ever since, he said. He had barely slept. They couldn't believe this was happening, another family member said. It didn't seem real.
(You have reached the end of the weekly listing of homicide victims in Los Angeles County, Dec. 24-30, 2007.)